A Week of Blessings
Two Friday's ago I had the neatest opportunity to go with my dear friend Mark to a Theater in the Round!! We saw Arsenic & Old Lace! I've never seen the movie or read the play before so it was totally fresh and new for me. It was excellently acted and Mark and I laughed our head off! (but we didn't drink the wine . . .) ;-) Mark is wonderful company and makes for a great companion for these types of adventures. I am blessed to have such a wonderful friend and brother in the Lord.
Two Saturday's ago the Dinner For Eight event for our fellowship group at church was held. For those who don't know, that's were we divide up folks from our fellowship group into different homes for a potluck meal and an evening of getting to know one another. I got to go to Marina Del Ray. One of the other couples assigned to that host homes, Keith & Rita, met me at the church early that day so we could go enjoy a walk at the marina before the potluck. Our host couple, David & Devanee joined us for the walk and showed us around. It was a neat way to spend the afternoon. Both couples are wonderful and I was so grateful to have the opportunity to get to know them better!
After our tour at the marina, we went back to the house to await the other two couples assigned to David & Devanee then we had BBQ salmon & chicken (yes, I had a little of each!) and all kinds of other yummy foods. We topped it off with David's home-made vanilla icecream and fresh peaches!! YUMMMM. Then we all just sat around the table and talked. I learned that one of the "mild mannered" and more "mature" gentleman in our group was a licenced and practicing *race car driver*!! (shock!) and most shared their testimonies - which was a real blessing. Most of the group had come to Christ later in life and it was a blessing to hear how He had drawn them to Himself and of their total devotion to Him now :-)
Sunday was church - and it was, of course, really wonderful! I don't have my notes . . .(wonder where those went . . . ) but it was about our job as evangelists and I came away more convicted to be bold in my faith.
Monday was work and a huge blessing. Our email had been down since the previous Wednesday afternoon. For our company, "this is not good" does not come close to expressing the pressure this puts on me to get it fixed. This is HUGE for us. The Lord was gracious (as always) and the solution presented itself readily and before 10 a.m. everything was working as it should. :-)
In addition, one of the projects I was working on led to a need to include a co-worker in the process and the boss gave me permission to turn this project over to her and any other responsibility I felt could be transferred to her!!!! I've been hoping for this for a long time. My job started out Administrative but through the months and till now, 2+ years later, it has grown to include a great deal of marketing - to the point that I really felt my administrative duties were suffering because I just didn't have time to do both jobs. Being able to toss some adminstrative duties to someone else takes a load off my back and frees me to be more effective in the marketing end of things :-) <
Tuesday I received a call from a friend that her father-in-law had passed away. I was able to re-arrange my discipleship meeting to Friday night and ended up spending Tuesday night with their family. I love these people! I was not really close to the father-in-law, though I had met him before strokes had made it necessary for him to be placed in a nursing home, but I did love him - mostly because I love his family, but also because, in some respects, he reminded me of my dad. The time with my friend and her family was such a blessing. It's interesting how you can go to minister and end up being ministered to. Their hearts and their faith in the perfect providence of God was so beautiful to see.
Wednesday I met with Angela - I'm doing some part-time accounting work for her. We sat and chatted for the longest time :-) Since we attend the same church, I wanted to get to know her on a more personal level, not just as part-time help. The fellowship was really sweet and Angela's spirited view of life and godliness was really encouraging :-) I think we really developed a bond there.
Thursday I was supposed to have dinner at my house with Stacy - a young lady from my fellowship group that I'm developing a friendship with. I realized that night that I had not yet gone to JC Penny (a good 30 minutes from my house) and purchased the wedding gift I needed for a wedding I was to attend Saturday morning! With Friday out of the question due to discipleship, I asked Stacy if she wouldn't mind having dinner at the mall - my treat, of course. She was such a trooper. After being on her feet *all* day (she's a baker, so that means ON her feet ALL day - like 10+ hours!!), she graciously went to Penny's with me. We found what I needed quickly - really, surprisingly so - and not only was it on sale at the display, but there was an additional discount at the cash register. I saved about 50%!! Then we went to Salt Creek Grille - someplace I've always wanted to try, but never had taken the time to. Now I know why . . . regular dinner plates *started* at around $20.00!! Fortunately, they also had very nice sandwich options for around $8 - much more reasonable! We had a good meal and, since I was on hyperdrive, Stacy was kind enough to let me ramble about things. I did settle down for part of the evening and she was able to share some stuff too :-) It was neat to spend some time with her.
Friday was discipleship and WOW - what a blessing!! This study is going to hone me as much, if not much more, than it does Bonnie! We're going through a book called "Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God" by Lisa Tatlock & Pat Ennis. We were in the first part of Chapter 1 and already I feel like I've discovered the mountain I'm climbing is at least 10 times higher than I originally thought it was! :-P Boy, have I got a long way to go in this sanctification process!
Saturday was the wedding of a couple from my fellowship group at church. The did some really neat things that I think I would incorporate if I were to ever marry. The most significant was right after the bride came forward - everyone standing, as is traditional. Normally, once the bride reaches the front the Pastor has everyone be seated. In this wedding, the Pastor asked that we all remain standing. He said that this couple had come together as believers, acknowledging that they are not to be unequally yoked. He asked them each to affirm a public confession of their faith in Christ - the pastor stated the profession, "Have you . . . as Savior and Lord" and they individually responed, "I have!". The gospel was clearly presented several times throughout the wedding ceremony. Since both the groom and bride have family members that do not know the Lord, many seeds were planted during the ceremony.
I headed to the reception afterwards, hoping to see the bride and groom before I had to take off - I deeply desired to attend the funeral for my friend's father-in-law. Long story short - too many conversations (all of which were a real blessing) led to leaving quite a bit later than I should. This followed by stopped traffic on the freeway made it clear I was not going to make it to the funeral - I'd have probably gotten there about the time they were all headed out. So I went home and spent some time in prayer for the family. I really think that's where God wanted me to be during that time anyway, and it was a precious time of lifting up my friends and those in their family that are unbelievers.
That evening I headed over to their house for the post-funeral meal and fellowship. That evening was a total blessing! My friend shared with me about the funeral - how the gospel had been clearly shared, ruffling the feathers of some of the unbelieving family, and seeds had obviously been planted. During the course of the evening, I was priviledged to watch the widow sharing from the Word of God with an unbelieving family member!!! What a joy to see the Lord's grace and mercy displayed by His children in this time that the world would consider so tragic and mournful. Yes, there was mourning. They already miss their father/husband - but with Christ we have a peace that passes understanding, and a joy that overflows even in the darkest of times because it is not born of our circumstances but of confidence in the sovereign timing and will of our loving and gracious Heavenly Father.
Today was a blessing both in the teaching at our fellowship group and in the main service. In our fellowship group we got to listen to our pastor's son-in-law teach on Judges 11 and how a godly person can confuse right and wrong. He defined the mistakes Jephthah made which led him to do wicked things thinking they were holy and right. In the main service, we had the pleasure of listening to guest teacher John Glass from Geneva. He spoke on three key decisions we can make that will lead to revival. Really good stuff which I'll blog about later and separately as this is already long enough :-)
Another blessing came to me today before church started. I have been praying about moving into a 1-bedroom apartment (right now I'm in a studio). I have been tossed about the additional expense - whether there would be a wiser place to spend the money. The increased rent wasn't really an issue - it would only be about $40 more than I'm currently spending - the challenge came in adding in utilities. These are currently included in my rent and I was concerned that adding utilities on top of additional rent would be unwise stewardship of what God has given me. On the flip side, I really can't do much ministry in a studio apartment.
There's no room to have a Bible Study meet or to have more than 2 or 3 guest at a time for meals or games or . . . . Game Night was often a bit crowded and challenging as I had no table on which my guests could put their dinner plates. I had talked it over with my mom and, since I could afford the additional rent and the utilities, though it would mean tightening the belt a bit, the ministry opportunities this would open up were viable places for the $$ to go. In additon, the place I want to move is about 15 minutes less driving time to work saving me around 1/2 hour each day. I decided to go forward with the move.
Because of the deposit requirements, I wasn't going to be able to afford the move in till the 15th of September - that put the manager of the complex in a bit of a bind as he knew the owners would not allow him to hold the apartment for that long. So, I told him not to hold it, that I'd call on the 15th and if it was still available we'd go from there.
This morning I bumped into the manager at church and he said he had a lot of applications and that he probably could not hold the apartment. . . . HOWEVER, he'd just been advised that morning of another apartment coming available that the timing works out perfect for! AND, it's bigger than the one I was originally hoping to get but still costs the same. AND, because it used to be a game room that they've converted into an apartment, the utilities are connected to the main building and INCLUDED in the rent!!!! :-) Watch me grin!!
Yes, this has been a week of blessing. Praise God for His gracious, kind hand on my life and my heart :-)